Blue Rocks pick up fourth straight victory, secure series win against IronBirds

Branden Boissiere hustling out of the box. Boissiere hit a walk-off single in the Blue Rocks' win over the IronBirds on Saturday, May 18. - Wednesday, May 1, 2024 / Photo via Payton Tuorto

On Saturday, May 18, the Wilmington Blue Rocks took down the Aberdeen IronBirds by a final score of 4-3 to secure their fourth straight win. This was with the help of Branden Boissiere, who laced a walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth.

Coming off a rough week on the road and losing seven consecutive games, the Blue Rocks’ main priority on this homestand was to string together some hits, runs, and wins; and they’ve done just that.

“I think we’re getting better,” manager Mario Lisson said. “I think there’s still a lot of room to improve. Just continue to get quality at-bats, that’s what we ask for.”

Jose Atencio got the start on the mound for Wilmington. He was shaky in the beginning, giving up five hits and two runs through the first two frames, but he settled in nicely to shut down the IronBirds for the following three innings.

“That’s what we’ve been doing man, all year,” Lisson said. “They’ve all been great. It was very good after the first home run and then another cheap run. It was a good job settling in, and then the bullpen did its part, so that’s what we ask for.”

The bullpen certainly did their part, with Matt Cronin, Marlon Perez, and Marquis Grissom Jr. combining for five innings, and the only run the trio allowed was on a double given up by Perez in the eighth. Grissom Jr. is usually known as a one-inning guy, but he received the win after staying in for the tenth inning and continuing to pitch well.

“His pitch count was low, and he felt good, so we trust him to go out there and do it again and he did,” Lisson said.

The bullpen keeping the IronBirds in check gave the Blue Rocks time to get the bats working. In the sixth, Wilmington came through on what they’ve been working towards, stringing together hits as Daylen Lile hit an RBI double, and Trey Harris III followed with an RBI single to tie the game at two.

“When a game never feels out of reach you know you’re a bloop and a blast from being right back in it,” Harris III said. “And for us, it was just a couple hits, you know, boom boom boom. And before you know it it’s 2-2, so it’s nice.”

Harris III jumped on a first-pitch slider on his single that tied the game. His aggressiveness at the plate has allowed him to stay confident in big moments.

“I wanted to be aggressive, but I knew that Daylen had just smacked a fastball,” Harris III said. “I wanted to be ready for the fastball, but I wanted to keep everything close to me. He threw the slider, and I was able to do a little something with it. So yeah, it was a little bit of a plan, a little bit of a good guess, and a little bit of watching Daylen smack a ball.”

It was more of the same for Wilmington in the seventh, as Phillip Glasser hit a double and then came around to score following a Viandel Pena single to give the Blue Rocks a 3-2 lead.

After the IronBirds tied it in the eighth, the game headed to extra innings knotted at 3-3. Grissom was able to hold Aberdeen to nothing, and then it was the Branden Boissiere show as he got his opportunity to shine in the bottom of the tenth.

“It’s pretty much the same,” Boissiere said. “Just slow the game down and get a good pitch to hit. That was all that was going through my mind at the time.”

The 24-year-old found himself in a 2-1 count when he roped a single through the left side of the infield that scored Lile from second to win the game.

“Amazing,” Boissiere said. “I’m just doing what I can to help the team win, so for that to happen just felt great for me and the team.”

A hit and a win like this are exactly what the Blue Rocks needed to continue their surge following a rough week. With the bats waking up and stringing together hits, Wilmington is on the way back to how they looked earlier in the season when they were at the top of the South Atlantic League.

“Ton of momentum,” Boissiere said. “It just shows the kind of people and players that we have on the team. We never gave up; we kept working and now its showing.”

At times this season, the Blue Rocks have had either great pitching or great hitting, but it hasn’t been an easy task to provide each of those on the same day. The last few games have looked much better, and perhaps this can be the point where they put it all together.

“Definitely,” Boissiere said. “It shows that they’re fighting for us as well. It’s definitely good when they’re throwing up zeros for us to score more runs and walk it off like we did tonight. When we’re both on the same page it’s really good, so I’m looking forward to the next couple of games.”

Baseball is a streaky game, and that has been persistent with this Blue Rock team so far this season. Winning multiple home games, and then losing multiple road games can be a remedy to remain in the middle of the pack in terms of standings. As they head to Rome to face the Emperors in a few days, Lisson has a motto for the team.

“We gotta continue man,” Lisson said. “One day at a time. Right now, we’re trying to take care of today and tomorrow we’ll try to take care of tomorrow. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’re trying to do a one-game thing. 1-0 every day, that’s kind of our mojo right now so we’ll continue to do that.”

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